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today’s news for Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) has not sufficiently adjusted its staffing levels to account for its growing portfolio. While the number of student loan borrowers grew 150% from fiscal year (FY) 2010 to FY 2019, FSA’s staffing only increased by 6% and by FY 2020 the agency was unable to complete about 20% of its designated workload.

NASFAA this week signaled its support for two pieces of legislation that would expand college students’ access to federal benefits available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In a letter to congressional leaders that NASFAA signed onto, lawmakers are urged to take up and pass the Enhanced Access To SNAP (EATS) Act of 2021 and/or the Student Food Security Act. The letter calls on House education and agriculture committee chairs and ranking members to support students' food security by eliminating or alleviating the SNAP student eligibility rule, which states that in order for students to be eligible for SNAP benefits they are required to work 20 hours per week in addition to their college coursework for those with demonstrated financial need pursuing a degree at least half-time. The 20-hour work requirement was lifted this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and both pieces of legislation are calling for the temporary waiver to be made permanent. The EATS Act would allow students with demonstrated financial need attending an institution of higher education to be eligible for SNAP.

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

When financial aid administrators in senior roles move on to new positions or retire, it can create significant gaps in knowledge and leadership for the financial aid office. Identifying and developing future leaders in advance is an essential component of a well-crafted succession plan. Blue Icon Advisors' Aspiring Director Group Coaching provides a strong foundation in compliance issues, enrollment management, and policies and procedures efforts to support your office's operations now and help with succession planning. Registration for our next six-week virtual cohort ends October 22. Sign up now to secure your spot!

The pandemic has caused major changes in financial circumstances for students and families across the country, making it more important now than ever for financial aid administrators to have a solid grasp of when professional judgment (PJ) can and cannot be applied. Our upcoming four-week-long PJ online course will provide a comprehensive review of the concept of PJ, as well as an examination of the guiding principles for the use of PJ. NASFAA U instructors will also delve into PJ’s impact on student eligibility and financial assistance. Don’t miss out on this training opportunity. Class starts November 8; register now.

The NASFAA website and all related services are scheduled for a planned outage between Friday, October 8–Monday, October 11 as we conduct system maintenance. Please plan accordingly, and we appreciate your patience. As a reminder, we are requiring all NASFAA site users to update their myNASFAA passwords. You will be prompted to do so upon your next visit to the site; simply select a new password, and you'll be redirected to your intended location. If you bypass the request, you'll be reminded upon subsequent visits until it is updated. If you don't complete this process by October 8, 2021, you'll be forced to reset the password on your next visit, and unable to access the site until you do so. You can visit the Change Password page now to update your information, and skip the reminder process if you prefer.

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